Everyone has had that moment when their friends have tried to drag them along to a party using the line Come with! It will be fun. You think about it for all of 5 seconds then remember that you originally wanted a quiet night in, wearing clothes that make you look practically homeless, and eating unhealthy food in such a ritualistic way that can only be considered an art form to some obscure South American tribe, whilst generally pretending the world is ending outside of your sloth bubble.
But you reluctantly decide Okay, just for an hour; One drink and then sneak out the back, or so you think. You end up having fun, in spite of yourself, and go with it for the rest of the night to see how it turns out.
Bus Party to Hell brings back that memory — but with more cheese, and pumped full of gore and blood-soaked bosoms.
Bare-bones premise: A busload of sexy party goers on their way to Burning Man get stranded in the desert (or so they think) and are set upon by a violent cult of devil worshippers who also happen to be cannibals. Oh wait, it gets better: they also happen to dress like they all stepped out of a Cradle of Filth music video.
Who will survive the bloody orgy? Who knows! Enough liberties were taken so you get to go along for the ride.
TL;DR (spoilers – skip if you must) version: Tits, blood and entrails; There's a decapitated head that gets one last chance to motorboat; some cringe one-liners; a buxom, tattooed porn star as a cult witch with an albino python; there’s a bloody orgy (a must-have for any devil-worshipping cult) and a demon gets raised.
Right, now to rip this movie limb from limb — good/bad points and more spoilers ahead:
Tara Reid (American Pie, Sharknado, and The Big Lebowski) takes top billing but is not utilised as much as she could have been; she has two scenes that were included purely for the sake of demented hilarity — there are mummies, decapitations, hackneyed one-liners and a photo shoot with Kimberly (Devanny Pinn) that goes horribly wrong. SPOILER (skip the next two sentences): Reid barely gets 5 minutes of screen time before she's run over by the aforementioned doomed bus.
Sadie Katz (below) is fantastic as crazed bus driver Joan who strands the merry-makers in the middle of nowhere and delivers a commendable performance.
The Priestess (Nailya Shakirova – below) steals every frame she's in and the Cult Leader (John Malinora – below) feels like he would have been at home lopping off limbs with a battle axe.
The rest of the characters are either cardboard cutouts, meat for the cannibals or didn’t stand out much – aside from Stefani Blake playing the calm center of the universe.
The night scenes are difficult to watch because of poor lighting – you strain to make out what is happening in certain shots.
The storyline itself is threadbare and there to just move things along like a funhouse cart with new horrors popping up and shrieking at you; you're not getting depth here, just thrilling sights.
Director Rolfe Kanefsky has plenty of experience and knows how to get just enough out of whatever is at hand to make anything entertaining, and his writing backup of Mahal brothers Michael and Sonny have crafted a demented, but agreeable, story of grindhouse quality.
If this film had any shame, it was left as a dry patch on the mattress in someone's upstairs room, next to the pile of naked bodies and empty beer bottles — in short, this film has none and just basks in its own sordid glory. Sure, things are downright brain-dead but all this movie asks for is that you park your brain, hop on and enjoy the ride – watch it once, laugh at the absurdity and tell friends you watched a film with a great title.